Twitter's announcement to include promotions in Twitter searches and eventually in users' streams makes it clear -- we live in interesting times. Will these channels all become so cluttered with advertising that they turn customers away? Debate all you will, but the truth is that we don't know exactly what the future holds.
Except we do.
The fundamentals are still -- well -- fundamental. Gen Y consumers want the same things as the generations before them: good products, good deals, and companies that honor the golden rule.
What's new is the speed at which information travels about which companies are the genuine articles and which are snake oil salesmen.
Go back to the essentials that got you in touch with consumers in the first place. Our research continues to support the validity and effectiveness of these fundamentals and we believe the three basic tenets below will help guide your marketing efforts through the changes we are witnessing. These oldies but goodies will get you back into the hearts of your Gen Y consumers.
1. Permission remains more important than ever.
Your consumers understand that they have choices, and they expect you to deliver meaningful information, tailored to their individual needs, with appropriate frequency, and through desired channels. In other words, they don't want you contacting them unless they have invited you to do so. Period.
Our research has shown that more and more consumers are finding ALL unsolicited promotions unacceptable -- 29% believe unsolicited promotions are simply unacceptable through any direct messaging channel -- be it email, social, mobile, direct mail, or telephone.
Old Trick, New Spin: Give customers a choice! But don't limit that choice to any single channel. In a recent focus group, consumers debated where to find the best deals. They would look across email, Facebook, Twitter, mobile, and direct mail to find the best deals available. Interestingly, we heard several had turned to Facebook, not because they were heavy Facebook users, but because they heard marketers were offering exceptional deals to get more Fans.
Too often offers or content are channel specific. Accommodate a combination of choices to encompass channel, message type, and frequency, and you'll come out on top.
2. Multi-channel success is dependent on overcoming channel competition.
You know you want to improve your multi-channel communications, breaking down silos and budget wars. But sometimes wanting isn't enough. According to our research, 80% of marketers want to improve their multi-channel programs, yet 60% become stuck in isolating, channel-focused budget competitions. In environments where focus remains solely on channel resources, marketers find it difficult to focus on customer-centric objectives.
Old Trick, New Spin: Gen Y consumers don't live their lives in channel silos and marketers shouldn't either. While channel specialists should have input into how success is measured, marketing analysts -- unaffected by the performance of one channel versus another -- should be responsible for determining which programs are most effective. This approach fosters more collaboration among channel specialists in order to improve the consumer experience across the enterprise.
3. Technology is a must! Marketers need the appropriate tools to drive coordinated interaction across multiple channels.
According to our research, marketers who realize better results have access to technology that allows them to strengthen their multi-channel programs. However, 68% of marketers examined believe they need more comprehensive and integrated application suites.
Old Trick, New Spin: What exactly does a "more comprehensive application suite" look like when it comes to modern multichannel marketing? Taking data from multiple sources and consolidating to a single location that drives messaging across multiple channels. Fortunately, more and more marketing platforms are supporting this functionality. Just as technology is fueling the divergence of channels, we must rely on technology to help us consolidate our messaging across those channels.
When things change, our tendency is to hyper-focus. Emerging media is clearly in our sights -- as it should be. Just make sure that in doing so you don't lose sight of the fundamentals. If we zero in on the changes without taking in the larger landscape, we can easily find ourselves looking through the wrong end of the telescope -- thinking our final destination is farther away than it really is.